Snail Ranching--Not Kidding : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In California at least, our garden snails were originally imported as food. Wild: available spring to winter, but can be farmed year round. Choose snails that retreat when poked or prodded-not hybernating. Per 3 1/2 oz. 90 calories, 9.9 grams protein, 4.4 grams fat, 4.4 grams carbohydrate. Purge of poisonous herbs or pesticides by leaving snails outside in ventilated box for a week, moistening them regularly with water. For last two days, feed on lettuce leaves or a few spoonfuls of cornmeal or flour. Soak purged snails in water to draw from shells, discard any that do not move, drain and toss with coarse salt (2 tbsp. per 12 snails). Leave for 10-15 minutes to froth, drawing out the slime.Rinse with cold water, drain. Snails can be roasted in shells on a barbeque (after purging), simmered for 2-3 hours until tender, or if shelled, simmered in soup or sauce for 10-15 minutes. This material comes from the cookbook, La Varenne Pratique, by Anne Willan, (1989), pgs. 164-165. Just another wild food source should we need it. Bon Apetit!

-- Amy (, December 12, 1999


too cruel

-- terrible suffering (won', December 12, 1999.

Yery good with hot mustard

-- && (&&@&&.&), December 12, 1999.

I heard from a semi-reliable source that Bannana Slugs could be processed the same way... the big ones are an inch in diameter, and 8 to 10 inches long :-) Hmmmmm I think I'll stick to Elk and Bear....

-- CT (ct@no.yr), December 12, 1999.

Eating snails reminds me of eating nose buggers.

-- Forrest Covington (, December 12, 1999.

I don't know about slugs, but it's all what you're used to. The selection and "cleaning out" technique of Amy's post is more or less similar to how the French create "escargot", which is a delicacy among gourmets. You can even find them in your "upscale" food markets in the U.S. and in good French restaurants. I've had them and they are just fine. (They taste like chicken -- just kidding.)

-- A (, December 12, 1999.

I feed my snails on various herbes - parsley. mint and especially basil - they go crazy for basil.

Then I boil them for a few minutes (purging's sissy stuff) and a quick stir fry with a little ginger or garlic. OH YEAH! Crunchy with rice or just perfect on a tooth pic. And the herbs come thro', if you've fed 'em enough. Snails straight from the garden. A snail's a snail.

-- Slowly (Snail', December 12, 1999.

My French neighbor just pulled them off the fence and ate them.

Dittos re: Forrest Covingtons remark.

-- Mark Hillyard (, December 12, 1999.

fROM SOMEWHERE i'VE HEARD THAT EATING GARDEN SNAILS IS DODGY BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN BRAIN-EATING PARASITES!!! (Might apply only to some species and some locations; might not be true at all.)

-- number six (!@!.com), December 12, 1999.

I took a week-long seminar in Yosemite a couple years ago studying what the Indians of the area ate and made with local plants etc. One thing that was surprising was the VASTLY greater variety of plants and animals that they ate, compared to us newcomers. Speaking of animals, anything that flies, swims, crawls, walks or slithers, they ate. Note - plants are much riskier... pick the wrong plant and it will KILL you! Check out some books from the library on how the Native Americans in YOUR area lived. Might be useful info if things get bad.

-- Linda (, December 12, 1999.

I know. It sounds gross. My daughter can't stand it when I make jokes about "snail ranching in Y2K." But the common Petit Gris garden snail IS the same animal used as "escargot." The Russian immigrants in CA brought them as a food source and now they are everywhere. Other commonly sought after (by people who do seek after such things) snails are the Burgundian Roman snails (bigger) but many other snails are edible too. In many regions of the world, snails are enthusiastically gathered and eaten after a rain shower. The Romans farmed them--and, hey, what was good enough for the Romans is obviously good enough for us! (Just kidding.) I've eaten escargot in restaurants in the distant past, and really, snails are more like sauteed mushrooms than "chicken." (LOL) Snails are univalves--related to abalone. The cookbook I quoted also says they store 1-2 weeks live and 3 days cooked (does not say with or without refrigeration). Hybernating snails can be eaten too, but it's harder work to get them out of their little sealed door to their shell so I didn't include that info. I also forgot to include the prep part about trimming off and discarding the "soft stomach" at the tip of the meat.Snails can be cooked with tomatoes or pasta, used warm in salads, and seasoned with such things as herb butter, garlic, anise or fennel, shallots, lemon, parsley, etc. I truly do not mean to be "cruel" or gross here--this is a potentially valuable and even delicious food source that we may be thankful for in the not too distant future. My daughter may never eat snails, but I will. P.S. I have notes from an edible wild plants course I took last spring with survivalist and botanist Jim Wiltsek. Will post in the near future. Mainly applicable to West Coast.

-- Amy (, December 12, 1999.

Would also like to know more about the possibility of brain-eating parasites in snails. Anyone got info? I've heard television has those too...

-- Amy (, December 12, 1999.

Well - I can certainly say that if you can eat slugs and you live on the west side of the Cascades, one should never ever ever starve to death...Ycchhh!

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.xnet), December 12, 1999.

Thanks Amy,

Hope I'm not getting too nitpicky here, but you may want to learn the natives first and leave them alone. They're usually smaller than the European browns, & their shells are flatter. I'd leave them alone, they're already under intense pressure from the more prolific exotics.

Carla Emery has a bit in her book about snail rustling, as well some recipes.


There were certain taboos against eating some animals [for instance frogs, & in my area they didn't even collect the feathers from owls}. There is alot out there. Learn the few deadlies first.

-- flora (***@__._), December 12, 1999.

Yehhhaw!!! It's the branding and castrating that is the hardest. (Hard to get the "squeeze" just right.) (Ropen 'em is quite an art, dontchaknow.) Nice leisurely month at roundup, though, when ya move them babies into the corral.

-- marsh (, December 12, 1999.


-- flora (***@__._), December 12, 1999.

Freshwater clams (AKA "mussels") are also quite edible. I've no interest in snails, but I do enjoy clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops. (Squid too, but that's a mollusk of another color.)

Another oft overlooked delicacy is the crawdad. It not only *looks* like a miniature Maine lobster, but it *tastes* like one too. My theory is that they're the descendants of lobsters that were landlocked by the glaciers Way Back When -- sort of like the freshwater sharks in Lake Nicaragua (the only ones on Earth, I believe).

For decades I've toyed with the idea of raising "cultured crawdads" to see if I could get them to lobster size. In the wild, they get eaten by fish before they grow to a very substantial size, but I suspect that (in theory at least), given a modicum of protection, they would continue to grow until they're of a very nice size.

Also, if you ever find a soft-shell crawdad (one that's just moulted, but hasn't hardened its new shell), cut off the head, make an incision down the back of the tail to remove the "vein", then bread and fry like softshelled crab.

They fry up plump, crisp, and juicy. Absolutely delicious.

Years ago, I read of a procedure for forcing a moult, but I can't find it anymore, and can't remember what it involves. If anyone *does* know the trick, please email me!

BTW, if you do decide to try experimenting with the little morsels, I can tell you their favorite food in the world -- frozen corn nibblets. When I was doing my experiments in a fishtank, I tried every kind of food I could think of to see which they'd eat. I tried pieces of fish, worms, anything I could think of. While they'd nibble at most anything, they went absolutely berserk for the corn. Numerous fights broke out between them over kernels, and the squabbling only ended when each crawdad had managed to grab a kernel, and they then sat there quietly gnawing away at it.

-- Ron Schwarz (, December 12, 1999.


Small question? What do the snail boys ride to herd these creatures. Brings up interesting visions.

Best wishes,,,,

-- Z1X4Y7 (, December 12, 1999.


This explains a lot about the French.

-- LM (, December 12, 1999.

If you want stuffed snails, you can work like the dickens to stuff em (think about the tools needed and how small they have to be) or you let em stuff themselves. they will be HAPPY to do it for you, just let em crawl around in the pan of bread crumbs for a couple hours and ......


-- Chuck, a night driver (, December 12, 1999.

Ah eats em raw; ah likes the slimy stuff

-- (slurpin@snail.trails), December 13, 1999.


The brain eating parasite mentioned by the guy with his Caps Lock key stuck (number 6?) occurs in the Giant African Snail, which I don't think has reached the USA or Australia yet. But then who knows, maybe the nasty parasite likes other snails too! From the web site of the Australian Quarantine Service...


Giant African snail (Achatina fulica Bowditch) is considered by most authorities to be the most damaging land snail in the world. It has a voracious appetite and has been recorded as attacking over 500 different kinds of plants although it has a preference for breadfruit, cassava, cocoa, papaya, peanut, rubber and most species of legumes and cucurbits.

The snail also can act as a vector of human disease such as eosinophilic meningitis which is caused by the rat lungworm parasite, Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasite is passed to humans through eating raw or improperly cooked snails blah blah....

I've had escargot and they're not bad but I won't be eating any from the garden, we've got plenty but I'd have to be plenty hungry!


-- Ron Davis (, December 13, 1999.

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